In this proceeding, the Federal Communications Commission considers preserving a free and open Internet by reducing government regulatory controls, while restoring market-based policies to encourage investment, deployment and access, as well as to improve aggregate consumer welfare. The Commission has indicated its intent to focus on facts and reasoned analyses to determine whether retaining, eliminating or modifying Internet regulations would produce more benefits to society than costs.
In these comments, ACI will briefly discuss market concentration, industry rates, investment and profits. Based on a review of the literature and public record, we find no compelling empirical evidence of market failure to justify the Internet regulations in place. Furthermore, we find that ex-ante regulations (including bright-line rules) make consumers forgo important economic benefits and to pay higher consumer prices, compared to market-based solutions.
ACI believes that Internet regulations have and will impose substantial costs owing to delay, uncertainty, unanticipated impacts and other regulatory imperfections. The effect of these regulations reduces service quality, impedes investment and innovation, and reduces consumer welfare. In general, we find the case for regulations to lack factual and analytical support and bereft of any specific consideration of economic welfare.
Therefore, we urge the Commission to conduct a full and fair analysis of the costs and benefits, and insist that proponents of regulations provide quantitative, data-rich, analytical assessments showing that consumer welfare will increase, just as Congress directed the Commission some eight years ago to include in its broadband plan recommendations for “advancing consumer welfare.” In the absence of such evidence, we ask the commission to reduce regulatory controls and restore market-based policies that will encourage investment, deployment, access, and increase consumer welfare.